Sunday, April 20, 2014

How to recover from a sewing fail....Popsicles!!!

No matter what you call them.. fails, wadders, ufo's, flouders, flops or f@&kups we all have them from time to time. And because you spend so much of your time working on a garment it can be very disheartening to have it flop. How you choose to recover from that can be a cautionary tale. Mine vary from full on temper tantrums, slinging profanities that would make a sailor blush to burying my head in a tub of ice cream. Doesn't ice cream solve everything?

New Look 6097, a faux wrap dress, is one I have on my TNT pattern challenge list.  I was excited when Fabric Mart announced their sewalong and thought this was the perfect motivation to get me to finally sew it up.  I've had it stuck in my to do pile with my fabric swatch pinned to it since last Fall.  Needless to say my fabric choice has missed it's season and I really just wasn't as excited about it anymore.  I'm really trying to practice the art of "stash busting" so I refrained from buying anything new.  Even though this was a flop for me let's go ahead and do a proper review shall we?


Misses belted faux wrap dress with neckline and sleeve variations

     Pattern:  Paper pattern from The Project Runway collection.  Readily available at Joann Fabric.  
                     Wait for the 99 cent sale!!
     Fabric:    Designed for stretch knits.  I used a jersey knit from Joann Fabric
     Notions:  1/4 in wide elastic, Buckle for belt
     Needle:  Ballpoint

Fitting:  The smallest size for this pattern starts at a size 10.  I fall right into that size in Simplicity and usually have little to no fitting problems.  Knits can be somewhat forgiving so I really wasn't to worried about the fitting.  I failed to remember that this is one of the Big Four and we all know that the ease in these patterns can be ridic.  The seam allowance is 3/8th and I ended up taking it in a total of 1inch and could still stand to take it in more.   You can also see I really need to shorten the waist as well probably about a good inch.


Construction:  The pattern is a breeze to construct.  I didn't get as far as attaching the elastic.  After I tried it on I was like what's the point.  My waist is too low and can you spot my saggy pockets?  I really wish I would of omitted the pockets to begin with then maybe this dress would of been salvageable.   I can understand pockets with a more stable knit but in a light weight jersey they are easily distorted and kind of flop around uncomfortably under the dress.

Here's a picture of the waist pulled up to wear it should be.  A little better but Oh God those pockets! My eyes, my eyes!!


This pattern has tons of rave reviews so I don't think I've given up on this pattern just yet.   Next time of course I will omit those pockets.  I will also shorten my waist and grade the pattern down another size.

To soothe my bruised ego I buried my head in tub of ice cream but not in the literal sense.  Popsicles more like it and in comfy pillow form!


My couch is the ugliest color of green and really needed some jazzing up.  I found this home decor fabric at Joann Fabric and it just makes me so happy and I want to lick my pillows.  I made four envelope pillows with french seams in about 3 hours.  You can find a super easy tutorial here.  


As you can see the couch gets much love....from a Pug! He's got his spot all wallered out perfect for watching and barking at passing cars.



                               Come on! Enough with the pictures already. I'm camera shy!


I've learned it tis' better and less exhausting to recover from a sewing fail by following up not with profanities and temper tantrums but with a fun, satisfying project.  Something that requires little to no brain cells and requires NO fitting! 

How do you recover from a sewing fail?  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pattern Testing: The Afternoon Blouse

If your anything like me you spend a lot of time daydreaming. "Some say I'm a dreamer...Well I'm not the only one." My work day consists of a lot of daydreaming in between analyzing all those numbers. One of my top daydreams...going home that evening and making a new top to wear to work the next day. Time is usually against me and I haven't been able to make that dream a reality just yet. BUT I'm really optimistic because I've been introduced to a pattern that will allow someone like me, who's slow as a snail, make that happen and I've been fighting with time all week to finally have the chance to introduce this pattern to you all. *big gasping breath*  I was more than excited when one of my favorite bloggers, Jennifer Lauren asked me to be a tester for her first ever pattern. So with out further ado I give to you...


Jennifer Lauren Afternoon Blouse 

An easy vintage inspired summer blouse with kimono sleeves and two decorative neckline options.  This blouse can be whipped up in yes, just an afternoon!  Wear it tucked into skirts or trousers for a professional put together look or wear it loose with capris or jeans for a more relaxed look.  

      Pattern:  PDF printout available here for $12.50
      Fabric:   Anything with good drape such as lightweight
                     cottons, silks and rayons.  For a crisper blouse use
                     medium weight fabrics like linens or quilting cottons.
                     I used a medium weight mystery fabric from my 
                stash.  I'm really unsure of the content but it was slick
                     and hard to cut and also makes that swishy sound 
                     when it rubs together.  
      Notions:  Light to medium interface and one button, size of
                      your choosing
      Needle:  For my fabric type I used a microtex needle.  

Pattern Assembly:  There are 24 pages to this pdf but that doesn't mean you have to tape all 24 pieces together, why, because Jennifer is a genius and made it easy on all of us.  Simply choose which version you want to make and print out only those sections needed.  I ended up assembling the whole pattern because I knew I'd eventually want to make both versions but what I loved is that the front and back pieces were printed in their own sections.  I was easily able to tape each section on my cutting table.  Usually I end up on the floor taping together one gigantic piece.  Yeah I'm sure we've all been there.


Fitting:  My measurements fall into the size 8 but I decided to cut a 6 since this blouse was made with quite a bit of ease.  The extra ease is because it's intended to have a blousier fit when tucked into pants.  With the type of fabric I was using I didn't think it would really look well tucked in (only so so on the drape factor).  I wanted a more fitted look when wearing it loose.


Construction:  The only part of the construction that can get a little tricky is when are attaching the facing to the decorative neckline.  As long as you slow down and take your time, Jennifer's instructions and pictures allow for no errors.  My front and side seams are serged as well as my facing edges.  I used a french seam on the shoulders.  I intended to use a french seam on the sides but apparently I had a brain fart at that moment and instead they got serged.


Regrets:  My only regrets about this top came during the cutting phase.  My fabric was slippery and in the back of my mind I had a very vague thought about cutting it on one layer.  The sewing angel, dressed in her perfectly tailored gown was on one shoulder saying, "Shannon you should really take your time and cut all your pieces on one layer to ensure your on grain and to avoid any wonky pieces."  But on the other shoulder I had the sewing devil dressed in ill fitting rags with a ticking clock in one hand and in the other hand a pin steadily jabbing me in the shoulder saying, "Tick, tick, tick..ain't nobody got time for that!"   I listened to the devil and cut on the fold.  In return I got wonky pieces just like the angel said I would.  When it came time to attach the back to the front I then realized the error of my ways.  The bottom fabric had slipped on my back piece, probably during the pinning process and was all wonky.  I didn't have enough fabric to cut another piece so I was forced to make it work.  I had to trim the one side of the back to make it fit properly with the front.  The result is wearable but it's a little tight when I move my arms forward.  I wish I could say live and learn here.  But what can I say I'm really hard headed and I just can't seem to get that sewing devil off my freaking shoulder! That pin hurts ya'll!  If you follow me on Instagram you seen the beautiful Mood silk I was cutting into for a second version.  I was so cocky too cutting this time on the fold.  I'll show you miss prissy pants that it can be done!  This time tho' the front pieces bit me in the ass.  I still wanna cry when I think about the beautiful silk I ruined that is no longer available.


Loves:  I'm loving anything these days with a kimono sleeve.  I also love that this blouse is so quick and effortless to make yet the decorative neckline makes it look rather complicated and that you surely spent many grueling hours whipping it into perfection.

Next Time:  Silk I will not admit defeat!  Jennifer gave me some great tips on working with silk (she will be putting all those tips in a blog post for you all too!) so I'm on the silk hunt.  I think for my next version I will cut a size 8 for a more fuller look when tucked into pants.  I do rather like the way it looks tucked into my retro wide legged Simplicity 4044 pants... 

tucked in

So as I'm scouring the internet for some luscious silk I'm wondering should I go for a print or solid.  I had a beautiful cornflower blue silk on order from Fabric Mart but somewhere in between clicking the add to my cart button and paying for my order it sold out and I got a refund.  Dang it I hate when that happens!  So please link me up a silk you think would be perfect for this top.  Orlando and I would be ever so grateful!


Awe yeah as I'm putting the final edit on my post I suddenly realized it's the season premiere of Mad Men in a few hours!  Let's see what Don the dirty dog can get into tonight!!  
~Peace Out!~

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Hypnotizing Tee....

Look deeeep, deep into my shirt....Doesn't the fabric remind you of one of those black and white hypnotizing spinning wheel thingamajigs??  I think I actually hypnotized my husband into taking me out to dinner.  I shall wear this shirt more often!


Maria Denmark Olivia Oversize Tee 
All the ingredients of a basic tee shirt but better. An oversized, relaxed tee that is super easy to fit and even easier to sew.  Kimono style sleeves so there are no pesky sleeves to set!  Short and long sleeve options.
  Pattern: PDF printout available here or here for $10.95
  Fabric:   Lightweight knits with a good drape. I used a hypnotizing cream/
                black striped lightweight ponte knit found here at Fabric Mart. 
  Needle:  Ballpoint

  Pattern Assembly:  There are 15 pages to assemble resulting in the front
  and back pattern pieces.  You will need to add a 3/8 seam allowance to the
  pattern before cutting.  Separate measurements are given for the neckline, 
  sleeve and hem ribbing, which is really nice because that means less paper to

  Fitting:  I cut an XS.  For a muslin I used a knit labeled "juvenile" from the
  clearance bin at Joann's.  I guess the tiny blue and green dinosaurs wasn't 
  clue enough that this was a kiddy print.  This isn't the first juvenile knit I've 
  purchased.  They are super soft and make the perfect sleep shirts.  I did 
  have a little bagginess in the upper back so I shortened it by 1 inch.  

  Construction:  There's not much to say about the construction here.  I mean
  it's super easy!  I made the entire shirt on my serger.  I think I could assemble
  this shirt in my sleep.  The instructions and illustrations were very clear.  This
  tee is the perfect project for those of you who've been leery of sewing with 
  knits.  There is NOTHING to be scared of. Trust me.   

  Regrets:  I really wish I would of paid attention when cutting out the back 
  piece and cut it the same direction as the front...ooopsie.  One thing I will 
  change for next time is to align the bottom hem seam with the side seam of
  the shirt.  


  A TNT?? Most def! I've already made up another in a open knitted sweater
  knit.. to be blogged later.


This shirt was very hard to photograph. I'm seeing that my up close photos took better than the ones farther away.  Seems the farther away you get from this shirt the more the lines blur together and could cause a person to go cross eyed.  Maybe I shouldn't wear this shirt out in traffic...


My pants in case your wondering are Simplicity 1696 blogged here.  A complete me made outfit..hell yeah!

I did a little clothing spring cleaning tonight.  My spring wardrobe has left me feeling rather blah.  I'm not even looking forward to dressing myself tomorrow.  I debated just lighting a match and starting all over but thought my coworkers might appreciate pants.  I think a 3 garbage bag purge of uninspiring duds was just the motivation I needed to start sewing for Spring.    Here's a crappy iphone pic of what I've been planning and scheming.


Do you purge your closets every season?  How does it leave you feeling?  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

If St. Paddy made a Renfrew....

Yes I've still been working on my TNT pattern challenge.  Along with the Deer & Doe Plantain I blogged about last week I'm now checking off the Sewaholic Renfrew and adding it to my TNT list.


I was asked which pattern I liked the most.  My original reply was the Plantain because it was a quicker make for me and it was a free pattern.  Now that I've worn them both several times I have to change my answer.  I find myself having a hard time deciding which one I like the best because I like them both so much for different reasons.  A few of the things I like about the Renfrew is the many variations you can sew up.  I like the construction.  I find attaching the banded sleeves and bottom hem the most fun.. nerd.  And I like that it's more form fitting then the Plantain.  So my new answer to the question is well, I guess I don't really have an answer!! ha!  They both deserved to be made in excess!


My fabric is a seafoam green pique ponte knit from Fabric Mart that unfortunately is no longer available.  There is a beautiful coral available....yum....oh but only looks like 1 yard, HURRY!!  The fabric is the same on both sides and has a slight sheen to it.   Ponte knit is so easy to work with.  LOVE IT!


My fit adjustments were shortening the upper back and a sway back adjustment.  The entire shirt was assembled with my serger.  I did use my sewing machine once to use the twin needle around the neckline.

If your reading this there is probably a 90% chance you've sewn the Renfrew already.  If you haven't I urge you to give it a go.  It's a great basic with many possibilities. 

Another weekend gone by in a flash.  Isn't that the way it always goes!?  A positive is that I don't have to worry about being pinched tomorrow.  I'm gonna have my St. Paddy's green on!  How about you? 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

AHOY Spring....!?!?


Mother Nature has been an evil hag this year.  Monday Vito and I were like giddy school kids frolicking outside in the near 70 degree temps.  Today it's back to heavy coats and sweaters as the temps made a drastic turn to 30 degrees AGAIN. Such an evil tease you are MN.  I'm thankful for Monday though as I was able to get outside to photograph three finished projects.

I know you've probably already read over and over by the many other bloggers out there how awesome the Deer & Doe Plantain is but please just allow me to reiterate that already known fact.


The Plantain is a FREE downloadable pdf.  I taped up the 17 page pattern, made my fit alterations, cut my fabric and had a shirt sewn up in like 2.5 hours.  That's pretty awesome people...for me anyway.  My fabric was this blue and gray striped cotton knit from Fabric Mart.  It's the type of knit that is perfect for those oversized cozy long sleeve tees that carry you through the transitioning weather. The perfect weight that feels like "butta" against your skin.   Maybe I'm saying too much but I literally wore this all day, took it off that night, tossed it in a wad in the corner and woke up the next day deciding I wanted to wear it again...NO wrinkles.


Through my muslin, that I turned into a night shirt, I was able to determine that in addition to my normal upper back adjustments I've become accustomed to making I also needed a sway back adjustment.  I followed this tutorial by Kitschy Coo.  I also raised the neckline 1/2 inch and shortened the sleeves just a smidge as I do prefer them pretty long.


I really took my time cutting my fabric to ensure my stripes would match up.  My sides look perfection but I've not quite conquered matching up the sleeves to the armholes.  Anyone have any tips or tricks on this?

MY FAVES:  Those elbow patches!! I used a light weight sweater knit for mine that I got from the remnants bin at Joann's.  They are attached with a zig zag stitch which proved to be quite tricky.  My patches wanted to move on me when sewing so I finally smartened up and used fusible web to hold them in place.  I'm also loving the fit of this tee.. close fitting up top and flares out at the bottom.  I CAN eat that last brownie after all!  But best of all, I have a new TNT pattern to add to my stash!


MN has it out for me I'm telling ya!  I fought the wind during the entire photo shoot.  Payback for all that trash talking I've been doing about her.  Maybe hag was a little harsh?.?.  I also had about a hundred birds circling overhead.  They made no bones about using my car as target practice so I was nervously looking up the whole time anticipating being shit on.

pew pew
Pew, Pew, Pew
(I couldn't harm a fly..SERIOUSLY)

TIPS:  Steam a seam comes in really handy when finishing your hems especially if your using a finiky lighter weight knit.  I used 1/2 inch wide webbing.  I first finished my hem using my serger (which is totally optional on knits since not all fray) ironed on my steam a seam to the bottom hem, folded the hem up using the width of the webbing as a guide for my hem width, gave it another quick press and stitched in place.  This eliminates the need for pinning and also helps to prevent ripples.


Dear Mother Nature,
  I'm sorry for the hateful things I've said about you but despite what you think things just aren't working out between Winter and I.  Please send Spring asap.  We've got a hot date to arrange.   
                                Yours Truly,
                                        Cousin Itt

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